Musk said Maezawa’s payment is big enough to “have a material effect on paying for cost and development of BFR”, which could cost as much as $5 billion overall.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa stood before the audience gathered at SpaceX headquarters Monday evening and was greeted by cheers when he echoed a line from a famous speech by President John F. Kennedy, proclaiming “I choose to go to the moon”.
An art lover with a vision, the Japanese entrepreneur has chose to not just buy a seat on the rocket, but every seat available-in fact he’s already made a down payment that will help with BFR development costs.
Musk, 47, made it clear before the private passenger event that crewed spaceflight for NASA remains SpaceX’s top priority.
The ISS orbits 254 miles (408 km) above Earth. SpaceX’s ability to reach Mars and set up an outpost will depend on it.
Musk called it “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space”.
Maezawa said, ‘Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon!
In the proposed mission, scheduled for 2023, a BFR will launch and fly around the moon before returning to Earth, a flight lasting four to five days. SpaceX says that only 24 humans have visited the Moon or its orbit in history, with the last one traveling on a 1972 Apollo mission.
“It’s not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight”, Musk said of the lunar mission.
SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell gave a more generous time frame for BFR’s debut during a TED Talk in April, saying it would launch “within a decade”. Last year, he said two paying tourists would circle the Moon in 2018, but those plans that did not materialize.
“Ultimately this BFR system is meant to carry anyone to orbit, and to the Moon, and to Mars, so he (Maezawa) is ultimately paying for every citizen to travel to other planets” Musk added. The Apollo 13 planned moon landing was diverted due to an explosion on the spacecraft, and the three crew members were forced to instead fly by their intended target and return home.
Interesting Engineering will continue updating this story as more information becomes available.
The BFR spacecraft’s shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like USA spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011.
Before revealing Maezawa’s mission to the Moon, Musk gave a heartfelt introduction as to why SpaceX exists in the first place. He added he will invite 6-8 artists for the trip.
How far will it boldly go? United States astronauts generally made the trip in about 3 days. Both Falcons are now still in development, so hopefully this will not be a rerun of SpaceX’s 2017 plan to take private citizens into space.
The era of space tourism began in 2001, when California businessman Dennis Tito paid for a journey on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. Bezos’ Blue Origin has been tight-lipped about the price of its tickets, but Reuters reported in July that they could cost in the $200,000 range.